White House announces green energy boost, cracks down on HFCs

The Obama administration has unveiled a series of public and private sector commitments to advance solar deployment, promote energy efficiency and reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) throughout the US.

Ahead of next week’s UN Climate Summit, the White House unveiled 50-plus new public and private efforts to boost the country’s solar power and energy efficiency industries.

The actions are expected to cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10bn (£6.1bn) on their energy bills.

Executive actions include: –

  • Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across America, including 240 solar projects; 
  • Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to cut carbon emissions by more than 60 million tonnes; 
  • Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing; 
  • Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects. 

“The good progress we are making on restoring the earth’s ozone layer would not have been possible without a strong public-private partnership,” said Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy. “By working together again, we can tackle the challenges of climate change.”


The announcement came in tandem with another pledge from the White House to reduce emissions of HFCs through a series of more specific executive actions and private sector commitments.

HFCs, used primarily in air conditioning and refrigeration, have up to 10,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Without concerted action, output could double by 2020 and triple by 2030.

The administration predicts a new, co-ordinated action can reduce global consumption of HFCs by the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2025. That’s an amount equal to 1.5% of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions, or taking 15 million cars off the road for 10 years.

Target, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Red Bull ‒ who use the gas for refrigeration ‒ are among some of the largest US corporations and users of HFCs that have agreed to cut their use and replace the hazardous chemical with climate-friendly alternatives.

The White House said both of these announcements ‘demonstrate significant U.S. leadership in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit next week’.

The Summit will attempt to build a consensus between nations and corporations for a global climate treaty at Paris 2015.

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